Aleah and Nevelle | — Vesta Irene —

Aleah and Nevelle


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Here is the first portrait Vesta and I made of Aleah and Nevelle. When they came by for their engagement session, we were anxious, because we’d just finished up the first part of our studio in what we are calling, “Casa Fotografia,”

When we rented the house, the three car garage was a mess. There was a four foot high wooden bench on one side of the garage, because the last tenant was into tools and working on cars. So it had to go, because grease and grime a wedding photographer doesn’t want anywhere near a bride in her very expensive white dress.


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Can you just imagine what a bride would do to us if we soiled her dress? Jeez, I don’t even wanna think about it.

So Vesta and I spent an afternoon tearing that bench out. And we found some black widows living under it. It was a good thing I had shoes on and not the sandals I usually wear when working around the house. Still, stomping a black widow really gives me the chilly willies. But they’re all dead and gone now, thank goodness.


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Work bench gone, we had to paint and that took a week, cuz we had to do it twice, cuz the paint people at Home Depot messed up mixing the color, so we wound up with a two toned studio and we didn’t like either one of the whites, one was too bright and one was too dark. So back we went and when we told them about their mistake they gave us three gallons for free, which was nice. And now the studio was perfectly painted and ready for portraits to be made there.

It’s true, we didn’t have the carpets yet, but we had the lights, having ordered them before we started painting. UPS brought ‘em when we were halfway through the painting process.


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Not only were the carpets not in, but we needed a table and chairs, a green screen, a couple backdrops and heat for the winter. Fortunately, it wasn’t too cold when Aleah and Nevelle came over and we were able to get good portraits, despite the fact that the place still looked like a construction zone.

Also, as you can see from the above two photos, we often process our portraits in both black and white in color.


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I have long been a fan of Mary Ellen Mark’s black and white portraits. In fact, I believe she was probably the best there ever was and it’s why I shoot a lot in monochrome. She was just so good at what she did, it could make you cry.

Black and white portraits, in my opinion, can get right to the soul of a person and bring it front and center and put it out there like oftentimes can’t be done in color. Color can’t always show the mood I’m trying to get whereas the contrast of light and shadows often can.

And, as I’ve said before in this blog, black and white, probably because it’s how humans first viewed photographs, is timeless. And what could be more timeless than the idea of everlasting love, which is why I like to do a lot of black and white work when we do engagement and wedding photographs or portraits.


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The portrait of Nevelle above is an example of what I mean about how you can oftentimes see the inner person in black and white, whereas maybe it might not have come across as well in a color portrait. In this photograph, I see pride, confidence and happy all combined. That’s the power of black and white.


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And this portrait of Aleah really showcases what I’ve been talking about. All I see here is love and without the distraction of color, the love comes through like a hurricane.

However, as much as I love black and white portraiture, I know that our clients want color too and that’s why, even though I might often set the LCD monitor on the back of my camera to monochrome so that I’m sure I’m getting the light and shadows the way I want, the photograph is recorded in color.

And Vesta and I process all of the photos in color. And you know what? I’ve found if the black and white image on my camera back satisfies my eye, portrait wise, then the color version will be just fine and it always has been, because color portraits love the interplay of light and shadow as well.


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Vesta Irene Wedding and Portrait Photography, 1250 Ralston Street, Reno, NV 89503 
Phone: 775 393-9529